Thursday, May 23, 2013

Banana Bread

2 c.    flour
1 t.     soda
1/4 t.  salt
1/2 c. butter
3/4 c. light or dark brown sugar
1/4 c. white sugar
2        eggs
4        over-ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl mash bananas with the eggs. In mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add banana mixture to butter mixture and beat on low until well incorporated. Add flour slowly to banana mixture and beat on low until mixture comes together. Don't overbeat. Pour batter into a well greased loaf pan (I put parchment paper into the bottom of mine).

Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, until loaf is firm when top is pressed. Let sit in loaf pan for 5 minutes and then turn out onto cooling rack. Peel off parchment paper if used. Let cool or enjoy a warm piece with butter on it.  Yummy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Carrot Cake Roll

For the Cake:
3 eggs
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup flour
2 cups shredded carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
Powdered sugar, to aid in rolling

For the Filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for dusting


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a jelly roll (10x15”) pan with foil and spray with cooking spray (I like to use the spray with flour) or use parchment paper.
Beat eggs at high speed for 5 minutes, until frothy and dark yellow. Beat in sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.
Whisk together salt, baking powder, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and flour. Stir into wet ingredients just until blended. Stir in carrots.
Spread in prepared pan. Batter will be in a very thin layer and you will need to use a wooden spoon or spatula to spread it to all the corners of the pan. Bake for 9-11 minutes (mine took 10).
While the cake is baking, set a clean kitchen towel out on a large work surface. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar (about 1/4 cup). As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, turn it over on the kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Remove foil carefully.
Working at the short end, fold the edge of the towel over the cake. Roll tightly, rolling up the cake into the towel. Let cool completely while rolled, at least one hour.
While the cake is cooling, make the frosting. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla.
When cake is cool, carefully unroll the towel. Spread the filling on the cake evenly, and re-roll tightly. Chill until it firms up a bit, at least thirty minutes to one hour. Dust with powdered sugar,then slice and serve. Cake can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to one month.


Optional: add 1/2-1 cup toasted pecans or walnuts to the filling!

Yield: 12 servings

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Honey & Cinnamon Remedies

Drug companies won't like this one getting around. Facts on Honey and Cinnamon:
It is found that a mix of honey and cinnamon cures most diseases. Honey is produced in most of the countries of the world. Scientists of today also note honey as very effective medicine for all kinds of diseases. Honey can be used without side effects which is also a plus. Today's science says that even though honey is sweet, when it is taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm even diabetic patients. Researched by western scientists:

HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, put it on toast instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol and could potentially save one from heart attack. Also, even if you have already had an attack studies show you could be kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of cinnamon honey strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.

ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients can benefit by taking one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken daily even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain -- and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.

BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder....who knew?

CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol-could be cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.

COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses, and it's delicious too!

UPSET STOMACH: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also is said to clear stomach ulcers from its root.

GAS: According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.

INDIGESTION: Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food is eaten relieves acidity and digests the heaviest of meals

INFLUENZA: A scientist in Spain has proved that honey contains a natural 'Ingredient' which kills the influenza germs and saves the patient from flu.

LONGEVITY: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old.

RASPY OR SORE THROAT: When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.

PIMPLES: Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root.

SKIN INFECTIONS: Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin Infections.

WEIGHT LOSS: Daily in the morning one half hour before breakfast and on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping, drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one cup of water. When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.

CANCER: Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder three times a day for one month.

FATIGUE: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.

BAD BREATH: People of South America, gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning so their breath stays fresh throughout the day.

HEARING LOSS: Daily morning and night honey and cinnamon powder, taken in equal parts restores hearing.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Cups

 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Ranch dressing
1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce (Frank's is the brand I like)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1-1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
24 wonton wrappers
1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray brownie pan very lightly with kitchen spritzer.

2. In a medium bowl, combine softened cream cheese, Ranch dressing, wing sauce and 3/4 cheddar cheese (save remaining 1/4 cup for topping). You can soften the mixture slightly in the microwave if needed to make it come together. Stir in shredded chicken.

3. Start layering your cups. Begin with a wonton wrapper and press it into the bottom of each muffin tin. Spoon about a tablespoon of the chicken mixture. Top with another wonton wrapper and add another tablespoon of chicken mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese and a little blue cheese.

4. Bake for 18 minutes or until edges are brown. Check cups after 10 minutes into cooking and if edges are browned cover the cupcakes with foil for the remaining cooking time.

5. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To remove, use a knife to loosen the edges then pop each cup out.

Easy Yeast Rolls

1 pack yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2-1/2 cups bisquick
1tbsp sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 400*
Dissolve yeast in water.
Put bisquick sugar and yeast in a large bowl, mix well.  Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 12-15 min.  Shape into rolls and place into a greased pan. Cover with damp towel and let rise for 1 hour. Brush with melted butter bake for 12- 15 min.  Brush again with butter after removing from oven. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I love rehabbing and repurposing things and when I run into great ideas for tired outdated furniture I want to share. Funny, I have a dresser that looks like a twin to this one. I've thought of getting rid of them and getting new furniture, but now I think I will refinish them. I'm thinking a nice matte or glossy black finish. What do you think?

Spinach & Cheese Stuffed Chicken

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
... 4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded (you can use up to 6 oz)
1 c frozen spinach, thawed and drained (you can also use fresh cooked spinach)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp breadcrumbs (I use Italian style)
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Lots of toothpicks


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Flatten the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness.

In a medium bowl, combine the pepper jack cheese, spinach, salt and pepper.

Combine the Cajun seasoning and breadcrumbs together in a small bowl.

Spoon about 1/4 c of the spinach mixture onto each chicken breast. Roll each chicken breast tightly and fasten the seams with several toothpicks. This part requires a tiny bit of skill and I typically use about 8 toothpicks in each roll to ensure none of the filling seeps out. Be sure to count how many total toothpicks were used!

Brush each chicken breast with the olive oil. Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning mixture evenly over all. Sprinkle any remaining spinach and cheese on top of chicken (optional).

Place the chicken seam-side up onto a tin foil-lined baking sheet (for easy cleanup). Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove the toothpicks before serving. Count to make sure you have removed every last toothpick. Serve whole or slice into medallions

Carrot Cake

2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups oil
4 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour, measure then sift
2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts

12 oz. powdered sugar, 3 1/3 cups sifted
6 oz. cream cheese, room temp
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. milk

Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
In large bowl, beat sugar and oil. Add eggs and beat well.
Sift together flour, soda, cinnamon, and salt into egg mixture; mix well; fold in carrots and nuts.
Place batter in greased 9x13 pan; bake 1 hour and 10 minutes in a 350 oven.
FROSTING: Beat together powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla, butter and milk; spread on cooled carrot cake.

Do It Yourself Taco Seasoning

Rachel Ray talked about how you should make your own taco seasoning because the stuff you buy in stores is full of sodium, preservatives, etc. This is just full of flavor, all spices, no preservatives.
1 T. chili powder
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1/4–1/2  T. crushed red pepper

Sunday, May 5, 2013



These delicious cookies are like snowballs in that when they are left out they disappear quickly. No, they don't melt, but it seems that t...hey attract little menehune (Hawaiian elves) that just love to gobble them all up when you're not looking! Cooking time includes 30 minutes for cookies to cool off. Also feel free to play around with the extracts. I have used pineapple extract with coconut extract, coconut and banana, and butter, rum and vanilla. All have come out well!


2 cups butter, unsalted
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts, finely chopped
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted, for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 5 cookie sheets with parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla and coconut extracts.
3. Sift together the flour and the salt.
4. Slowly add to the butter mixture.
5. Add nuts. Mix until blended well.
6. Roll into small, bite sized balls. (about 3/4 of an ounce or 2 tablespoons). A small ice cream scoop works well. Place 1-inch apart on prepared cookie sheet.
7. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until slightly golden.
8. While still warm, (not hot, not cold) roll through powdered sugar.
Keeps about a week (but they won't be around that long) in an air-tight container.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
... 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or 2 forks) until mixture is crumbly. Press evenly into a 9x13 baking pan lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 cup sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Then add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over warm crust.

In a small bowl, stir together chopped apples, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spoon evenly over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Streusel topping. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until filling is set. Drizzle with caramel topping and let cool. Serve cold and enjoy!

Natural Flea & Tick Remedy

I'm sure everyone would like to fight pests as naturally as possible. I, myself, prefer to use non-toxic products as often as possible, especially when it comes to my pets health. So here you go.

8 oz. apple cider vinegar
4 oz. warm water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

Mix dry ingredients first then slowly add to wet as the vinegar and baking soda will react slightly. Put into spray bottle and spray pets down. Be careful not to get in pets eyes.

Use Borax throughout the house, sprinkle it on the carpets and let sit for a few hours, then vacuum. This should kill all the fleas and ticks in your home and on your pets.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Roasted Ranch Potatoes

Roasted Ranch Potatoes

2 pounds potatoes (unpeeled, washed and cut into chunks)
1/2 cup ranch dressing (bottled, not packet)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus 1/4 cup more for topping
1/4 cup crumbled, cooked bacon or real bacon pieces from jar
1 tablespoon dried dill weed
3 scallions, washed and chopped
Sour Cream (optional)
Non-stick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add (in a large bowl) the ranch dressing, dill, cheese and bacon. Add in the potatoes. Sprinkle in a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to coat potatoes.

Spoon into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Cover with foil.

Bake for 60 minutes. Stir gently halfway through to get the bottom potatoes rotated so they don't become burnt and to ensure that the middle and top potatoes get a chance to brown.

Remove foil. Raise oven temperature to 400 degrees. Gently stir again, as necessary.

Bake for an additional 15 minutes, then sprinkle with additional cheese. Bake a few more minutes or until everything is gooey, browned and bubbly on top.

Serve with scallions sprinkled on top for garnish.

Great with a dollop of sour cream.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cream Cheese Sticks (crack sticks)

1 loaf (16 ounces) thinly sliced white bread, crusts removed
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cu...p confectioners sugar
1 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup butter, melted

Flatten bread with a rolling-pin. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar. In another bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Spread about 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture on each slice of bread. Roll up, jelly roll style. Dip in melted butter, then in cinnamon-sugar. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 16 roll-ups. Good warm or cold. ADDICTING! (I can only assume they are called crack sticks BECAUSE they are so addicting)

Loaded Potato Bites

Have left over mashed potatoes???? Make these yummy
Loaded Potato Bites
*Makes 18-24 bites depending on size

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons of flour
 2/3 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
 3 strips bacon
 1/3 cup scallions, chopped
 1 egg
1 ¼ - 1 ½ cups Italian bread crumbs
 Oil for frying
 Salt and Pepper
 Ranch or Honey Mustard for dipping


1. Take potatoes out of the fridge and let sit for a few minutes to take the chill off a bit. Meanwhile shred the cheese, chop scallions, and cook bacon then dice finely. Add potatoes and flour to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine well, then add cheese, bacon, and scallions. Take about a heaping tablespoon of mixture and roll with hands into a small ball. It if doesn’t hold its shape, add a little more flour to make the potatoes sturdy. Repeat until done.

2. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan – or use your fryer – over medium/medium high heat to about 350-375 degrees. Whisk egg into a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Place bread crumbs in an additional bowl. Dip each ball in egg and then roll in bread crumbs until fully coated. Set aside on a sheet pan.

TIP: Alternatively Bake in the oven until golden brown at 350-375 degrees for a lower fat option

3. Test oil with one ball. The oil should bubble when potato is in oil and ball should take about 1-2 minutes to brown and cook through. (If takes longer the oil needs to be hotter, if it browned too quickly on the outside and the inside is still cold, the temperature needs to be lower.) Once oil is ready, add potato balls in small batches and fry for 1-2 minutes – it will depend on size. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper lined plate to allow excess oil to drain off. Repeat until done.

4. Allow to cool for a minute or two and serve with dipping sauce.

Southern Fried Chicken

1 (5 pound) whole frying chicken, cut into pieces
1 quart whole buttermilk (don't use low fat or you will be sacrificing flavor)
vegetable oil or Peanut Oil for frying (canola oil is okay)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a large bowl, combine chicken and buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. In a large cast-iron skillet, melt enough shortening over low heat to come 1 inch up side of Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet.

In a shallow dish, combine flour, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Shake buttermilk off chicken and discard buttermilk. Dredge chicken in flour mixture to coat, gently shaking off excess.

Turn heat up to medium high. Place chicken in skillet, arranging thighs in the center and breasts and legs around edges. Fry chicken for 10 to 12 minutes per side or until golden brown. Turn down heat to low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for about 40 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Turn heat back up to medium high and allow chicken to get as crispy as you like it. Serve and enjoy!
I used to make fried chicken all the time but since we all need to watch our cholesterol these days you probably won't want to make this weekly. There is nothing like biting into a juicy piece of crispy skin but if you use boneless skinless chicken breasts I wouldn't cook it as long. Cut into a piece at about 20 minutes to check for doneness so that they don't get overcooked and rubbery.

Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole


1 (2 pound) package frozen hash browns
8 ounces sour cream (not part of the Cracker Barrel recipe but some add it and love it)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup margarine or even butter works very well also
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups grated Colby cheese (personal note–I prefer sharp cheddar)


Place potatoes in a greased 9×13 inch pan. Season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in the microwave. In a bowl, add minced onions, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and melted butter and mix together. Pour soup mixture over potatoes; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until all is completely warm, and the cheese begins to melt.

Jello Shot Cake

  • 3 cups very cold rum or vodka, flavored is okay (I put mine in the freezer for a couple hours)
  • 6 teaspoons plain unflavored gelatin
  • 6 3-oz packages of jello, we used grape, berry blue, lime, pineapple, orange, and cherry
  • 1 1/8 cup vanilla yogurt
  • water
  • cooking spray
Lightly spray bundt pan with cooking spray, wipe out excess. Place 3/4 cup water in saucepan, sprinkle one teaspoon unflavored gelatin over it, let sit for a minute or two, heat on medium-low stirring constantly with whisk until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add first package jell-o, whisk in until thoroughly dissolved, about 2 minutes, remove from heat, stir in 1/2 cup cold alcohol, pour 3/4 cup jello mixture into mold, place mold in refrigerator. After 10-15 minutes place rest of jell-o mixture into bowl, place in refrigerator 5 minutes. Take bowl out, add 3 tablespoons vanilla yogurt and whisk thoroughly, gently add to bundt pan, place back in refrigerator.
Wash all your utensils and start over with next flavor, as the pan chills more and the layers get thinner it will go faster to add next layer, if it feels slightly tacky to the touch it is ready. If it’s not set enough the layers will “bleed” through, it sits too long the layers will come apart. When you add the last layer refrigerate at least overnight, with clean hands pull jello away from the edges of the pan, dip almost to top into a container or sink of warm, not hot, water for 10 seconds, remove and jiggle pan, if it looks like it’s coming away from the edges it’s ready, if not, dip again for a few seconds. Place serving plate upside down over top, invert, and voila. A beautiful, delicious, impressive dessert!